Meadow madness

I’ve been busy over the past few days, but have found some time to do shape the terrain around Port Rowan and start applying ground cover and static grass.

Here’s the before photo – taken on Friday:
Port Rowan Orchards - a beginning photo PtR-Orchard-03.jpg

Now, here’s a photo taken from roughly the same spot, showing how I’m bringing the scene to life:
Meadow mayhem photo PtR-Meadow-06.jpg

Since we’re looking at overviews, here’s one from the other direction:
Meadow madness photo PtR-Meadow-07.jpg

(Note that I’ve removed the trees in the orchard so I wouldn’t get foam board dust stuck to them while working on the meadow.)

I prepped the foam board surface with rasps and rifflers. I then added lumps of Sculptamold in select spots to provide a bit of a roll to the meadow. I then painted the surface in patches, sprinkling the wet paint with ground up tea leaves and commercial scenery material from Scenic Express and Woodland Scenics. Over this, I flooded dilute Weldbond and while it was still wet I added Noch static grass.

For a first pass, I think it looks pretty good in medium range and close-up photos:
Turning 1532 photo PtR-Meadow-05.jpg

Static grass photo PtR-Meadow-04.jpg

I must still add shrubs and other greenery, plus a few trees – and, of course, details.

Adding lumps of Sculptamold to add relief is important when modelling such a flat area. It’s particularly noticeable in low angle photos, such as this one:
Rolling meadow photo PtR-Meadow-01.jpg

While working on this area, I also ballasted the turntable approach track. I will airbrush the rails, then go back and add static grass between the ties:
Ballasted TT approach photo PtR-Meadow-03.jpg

I also added ground cover to the turntable base. Here are the before and after photos:
Turntable-Installed photo PtR-Turntable-05.jpg

Grassy pit photo PtR-Meadow-02.jpg

I can do a little more – notably, along the back of the scene – but the area near the station and feed mill will have to wait until I build the structures. Still, a good start on scenery in Port Rowan, I think!

11 thoughts on “Meadow madness

  1. Trevor.

    Looks very nice. I’m just starting to used the Grass Master, and it seems I have a little more practice to get the disired effect I’m after. One thing is, I do not have such a largre area to cover in tall weeds, so I’m using the small nozzel to apply grass in smaller areas. What length of grass are you using?

    Mike S

    • Hi Mike:
      I use the regular screen or the nozzle, depending on where I’m applying the grass.
      I’ve tried several brands of grass and based on my experience, the ONLY stuff I use now is the Noch Wild Grass. It’s a little longer than others and does a better job of taking a charge and standing upright. It can be airbrushed so I use the tan colour and add green if needed.

  2. Your scenery is coming along very nicely Trevor!
    You’ve brought up a subject I’ve been meaning to ask you about; painting rail. If you don’t mind me asking; airbrushing as opposed to hand brushing? What is your secret to limiting the paint to just the rails and what paint/color do you use? I don’t like pre-weathered rail, and have always painted non-weathered rail before spiking it down. But on the new layout, I’m painting it afterward.
    Thanks, Darel

    • Hi Darel:
      Thanks for the kind words.
      Yes, I airbrush the rails. I use Rail Brown and the key to doing it without getting it everywhere is to get in really close and only open the paint flow the tiniest bit (I have an internal mix airbrush). If you can adjust the pressure of your compressor, play around with that too. Try airbrushing some test rails before tackling the layout – a spare piece of flex track would make an excellent testbed for technique.

      • Thanks for the information Trevor. We shall find out how easy it is to do with code 55.
        Keep up the great work! I’m jealous of the progress you are making.

        • Thanks Darel.
          As for progress, scenery goes very quickly and the layout itself is really simple. If I was doing something more ambitious with my space, I’d still be spiking track…

  3. Meadow Madness Makings:
    For those who are interested, here are the products I used (including product numbers):
    – Base paint: Beauti-Tone “Sand In My Shoes” from Home Hardware
    – Scenic Express “Dark Humus Blend” (EX888B)
    – A selection of ground up, previously-enjoyed loose tea leaves
    – Scenic Express “Green Adirondack Blend” (EX897B)
    – Noch “Beige Wildgrass” (07101)
    – Woodland Scenics ballast: a blend of Fine Cinders (B1372) and Fine Brown (B1376)

  4. Trevor,

    I just happened to stumble across this webpage while searching out branch line photos on Google. I have been into model trains on and off since my teen years back in the 1960s and in all those years have never seen such realistic branch line scenery as you’ve created here. The use of lighter weight rail adds a lot to the realism of the branch terminal. Hope to see photos when you finish the feed mill structure. Feed mills and smaller grain elevators found along railroad lines have been a source of fascination to me of late, and add a lot of interest to the model rail scene. Thanks for sharing the photos and details of how you’ve accomplished such a realistic looking model rail line.


    • Hi David:
      Welcome aboard! And thanks for the kind words. You’ll find a lot more photos of the meadow if you check the “grass” category on my blog. There’s a drop-down list of categories to the right when you’re on the home page.
      Yes, I’ll be documenting the feed mill – and other structures – as I add them to the layout. I’m taking care of a few other projects before I tackle any more structures, thought.
      If you haven’t already done so, check out the “Follow This Blog” page – you’ll find the link right under the photo at the top of the page. That way, you’ll get automatic notification when I post something new.

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